Friday, October 14, 2011
In the name of Phoenix Jones
By Chuck Mindenhall
One day in court isn't enough to come between Ben Fodor and crime-fighting.
Jon Jones ran down a purse-snatcher in Paterson, N.J., just hours before he took (by force) Mauricio Rua’s belt.
It was an act that was universally lauded. And yet, he is the second-most noteworthy Jones on what’s becoming a niche vigilante circuit.
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Phoenix Jones has got to be first.
If you haven’t heard, the 23-year-old Phoenix Jones also happens to be a mixed martial artist, who has racked up an 11-0 amateur record under the pedestrian name of Ben Fodor. His brother is Strikeforce’s own Caros Fodor. By night, this Jones combs the Seattle streets in an abs-squeezing superhero costume -- often with videographers and fellow avengers in tow, fighting as a collective known as the Rain City Superhero Movement -- armed with above-average submission skills and fairly decent stand-up. Just in case his natural tool kit isn’t enough, he carries cans of mace, pepper spray, a bullet proof vest, stab plates and a conversation-ending stun baton for those who try and get cute.
He also carries a cell phone that he uses to call the police.
Phoenix Jones appears to be a cross between Jon Jones and Robin Phoenix, who is of course Dennis Hallman’s alter ego. (This last part can’t help but be speculation, since we’ll never know). Just who is he after? Well, obviously, totalitarian street thugs -- and miscreants of any gender. Flashers, petty ne’re do wells, pick-pockets -- let’s just say, any shady character he feels like interfering with who appears to be engaged in private lawless affairs.
As is the burden of all superhero’s, it turns out his job is thankless -- the problem with vigilante justice has always been that it feels a little bit too close to assault to people who look like they’re fighting but are really just dancing.
And that's just what happened recently, when Jones/Fodor was arrested and booked on four counts of assault for breaking up what he perceived to be a street fight. After injecting himself into the situation, he broke out the pepper spray when the female perps came after him with open-hand rights.
“It’s not Halloween,” one of them said in a video shot by Jones’ videographer, Ghost. (This video can be Googled.) Jones insists it was a fight (and it looks like one), while the plaintiffs say they were merely dancing (interpretable).
Whatever it was, the cops are siding with the latter.
“Just because [Jones] is dressed up in costume, it doesn’t mean he’s in special consideration or above the law,” said Seattle police spokesman Det. Mark Jamieson. “You can’t go around pepper-spraying people because you think they are fighting.”
What a wet blanket. The thing is, that’s exactly what Phoenix Jones does -- what he says he’ll continue doing, because justice can be a complicated thing.
“I will continue to patrol with my team, probably tonight,” he told the media after his court hearing at the King County Jail courtroom. “In addition to being Phoenix Jones, I am also Ben Fodor, father and brother. I am just like everybody else. The only difference is that I try to stop crime in my neighborhood and everywhere else.”
Bruce Wayne was a wealthy businessman on the side before turning into Batman, all of it fictional. Ben Fodor is a mixed martial artist on the side before slipping into a comic book store to transform into Phoenix Jones, and the lines are blurring between fact and fiction.
It just seems like a matter of time until we hear about the movie rights to this one.